4 Things To Do Every Morning For Better Gut Health All Day Long
The phrase waking up on the wrong side of the bed exists for a reason. What happens in the first couple of hours each morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. Prioritizing a morning gut health routine can be especially important for both mental and physical well-being on a daily basis.
There are plenty of ways to promote gut health all day long, starting in the morning. Here's what two registered dietitians recommend:
Instead of reaching for your cellphone in the morning, reach for a glass of water. According to registered dietitian Jess Cording, M.S., R.D., CND, adequate hydration helps to keep things moving through the GI tract. In other words, it can help prevent constipation. Though room temperature or ice water will do the trick, warm water has been shown to speed up digestion1.
To maintain healthy hydration levels throughout the day, Cording recommends drinking a glass of water with each meal and one in between.
Take a probiotic.
Targeted probiotic supplements can help manage bloating, stomach discomfort, and digestion.* Taking in the morning with that first glass of water is an easy way to support gut health, which we know is so important for our mood, digestion, and immunity, registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, R.D., says.*
One study shows probiotics are more likely to survive when taken 30 minutes or directly before a meal2, compared to after. So, taking a probiotic first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, is a simple way to optimize its effectiveness.
Because of the gut-brain connection, stress can directly affect gut health and digestion. "They don't call it a nervous stomach for nothing," Cording says.
Mindfulness practices in the morning, like gratitude journaling, meditation, yoga, or a few minutes of quiet time, can help manage anxious feelings.
Michalczyk also recommends writing a to-do list with the three most important tasks of the day. This organization tactic may keep you from getting overwhelmed by responsibilities later on. "Getting a handle on stress hormones can help keep them from wreaking havoc on the mind and body, including the gastrointestinal system," Cording says.
Eat plenty of fiber.
Most Americans aren't eating their daily recommended intake of fiber, but the valuable nutrient3 plays a role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, feeling full, and, of course, enhancing digestion. Adding 7 to 10 grams of fiber to breakfast is a priority, Cording says. These 25 high-fiber foods are a good place to start.
For extra breakfast inspiration, Cording typically eats a mix of leftover veggies and eggs, or a smoothie with frozen cauliflower, greens, half an avocado, half a frozen banana, and chia seeds.
Doing just about anything too early in the morning can seem difficult, but supporting a healthy gut doesn't have to be. Just four simple steps (hydration, probiotic supplementation, fiber intake, and stress management) will promote better gut health all day long.
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.